Make It Happen: Keynote Speaker Jon Petz Energizes FFA Members to Make an Impact

INDIANAPOLIS – “Every single one of us has a unique gift, but are we willing to share it with the world?”

This was one of the many tidbits of advice motivational speaker Jon Petz gave to FFA members as the closing keynote speaker for the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo on Friday.

Petz spoke about the importance of engagement and the drive to be significant, and he focused in on relationships with others.

“I don’t feel that relationships are something that we conquer if we want them to be mutually beneficial,” Petz said in an interview. “Successful, valuable relationships are made up of a series of simple moments that matter to the other people, so we want to build significance in simple moments.”

Petz shared a personal story about a time when he performed magic tricks for a young boy named Nathan, who was suffering from cancer. In Petz’s mind, he said, he did not believe he would make a difference for the child. However, Nathan and his family loved the magic tricks, as they brought joy to everyone in the room in Nathan’s final hours.

Petz used this moment as an opportunity to emphasize having passion behind your work and knowing the value that it has for others.

“You may not know the impact you have on people, but you had an impact,” Petz said.

He shared his magic tricks with the audience, bringing an FFA member onstage and hiding her one hundred dollar bill in an uncut lemon. Toward the end of his speech, he brought up another member and helped him perform simple magic acts on the fly. This is the message he left the audience with.

“You never know when you will be in that spotlight,” Petz said. “How are you going to perform?”

Dene Dryden is a sophomore at Kansas State University studying creative writing. An alumna of the Palco FFA Chapter in Kansas, she is serving as a reporter for the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo Newsroom Crew.